Ultralight 1-person Tents

9:22 p.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I would like to lighten my load, though not to true UL extremes.  I'm looking at a couple of the standard "low hanging fruit" items, big hitters in terms of weight:  pack, tent (my sleeping bag is already down to 2 lbs, as light as I expect to get for the temp rating I desire). For this thread I'm focused on the tent.  I currently use a Big Agnes Copper Spur UL 1.  It's a good little tent - roomy, kept me dry in numerous heavy Sierra thunderstorms, etc.  But it weighs in at 3 lb.  

I've considered a Tarptent, since I could easily shave off a full pound.  But I've read reports here (and elsewhere) about BA using Silicone plus PU coating, thereby preventing misting (and it's successful at that in my experience with it). However the Tarptent doesn't use the PU coating, so it's subject to misting (a non-starter for me as I don't want my down bag getting wet).

So, any thoughts as to other alternatives that weigh in at 2lb or less all-in for a full-enclosure tent (NOT interested in open sleeping, tarps, etc... and last weekend's large rodent camp raider further convinced me on that), and a bivy won't suit me.  Also it MUST be free-standing (non-free-standing is just too restrictive in campsite selection since we must select "durable surfaces"...).

One that caught my eye is the Terra Nova Solar Photon (and similar models), though I need to do further research to confirm that I'd fit inside (I'm 6' and don't want my down bag getting wet from the tent walls). Plus it's super expensive :(

Ideally any replacement would have as much floor space as the Copper Spur, since occasionally I also need to bring my pack inside.  Maybe this is all too much to ask of a tent for 2 lbs or less ...

Any suggestions on this? :)  I see the TS discount at several retailers ends on 4/30, hmmm ...

9:59 p.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Bill, if ya use trekking poles on a regular basis the Big Agnes Scout 2 might be an option considering you seem to be a fan of Sil-nylon and the pu coating.

Should be big enough.

GoLite Imogene is a bit over 2lb.

Lightheart makes a pretty light tent.

This is uncharted territory for this pack mule.

I will be interested in the responses as well.

11:02 p.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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If you want it to be freestanding, fully-enclosed, and light, Henry's double-walled Moment should fit the bill. The cheapest of the lot, too.

But really, you might be asking for too much...this might be a "grass is greener on the other side" type of thing...

BTW, Henry will do just about anything you want to a Tarptent, including an extra, hand-applied silicone coating to the fly.

11:52 p.m. on April 24, 2013 (EDT)
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I see both Mountain Hardwear and Big Agnes have new UL tents this year (the Super Mega UL 1 and Fly Creek UL 1 Platinum, respectively), both weighing in at 2 lb, 1 oz.  The MH has a pointed end (seems like the sleeping bag foot would rub the walls).  The BA seems tapered but more squared.

Oh, and it's not that it has to be PU ... just that I don't want misting... so other options that achieve that are ok too.

The new Moment DW is interesting.  But to make it free standing you need the optional 7 oz cross pole.  That brings it within 7 oz of the Copper Spur UL 1 that I have now.  The others are about a full pound lighter.

9:49 a.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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If the new Big Agnes weighs 2'1", you can go buy a new one next year and save an ounce and a half.

10:05 a.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Ppine I'm not sure I follow that :). My current BA tent weighs a little over 3'. The new BA I mentioned weighs a pound less. I did see a review that showed a picture of the light fabric tearing though :(.

3:26 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Purchased a new BA Scout a few months ago, got a great deal (20% off MSRP) that included the footprint.  I have used this tent twice on weekend trips with my son in the Mt Laguna and Anza Borrego areas near San Diego.  It weighs about two pounds, including the footpint - you can't get much lighter than that!  We had no issues with condenstion, and the temps got to the mid 40's at night.  One thing is that this tent doesn't do as well in the wind as I would have hoped.  You have to really stake it down solid, and even then the tent flaps around significantly in high winds, much more than my Kelty Gunnison 2.1 does.  However, it is about 1/3 the weight, so its hard to complain much.  ;)  You do have to use your trekking poles, but most backpackers I know carry them anyway, so....

4:36 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Bill:

I have the MSR Hubba, which is has very similar specs to the Copper Spur.  These are both great Sierra summer tents!  I recently had the Hubba in a 45MPH desrt wind, and it shed the wind surprisingly well, considering the minimal nature of these designs.  I'd be hesitant to trade off for anything lighter, as a good (sic) storm at tree line can get quite nasty too.  Have you considered the option of using just the rain fly and footprint?  And consider making your own footprint from lighter weight plastic sheeting?  If concerned about bugs bothering your sleep, get one of those LW personal bug nets @ under 2 oz.  I bet this minimal Copper Spur configuration would come very close to the alternatives you are considering.

Ed

6:20 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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The MSR Hubba has served me well and is very accommodating for myself and gear, but not palatial (full review). I used the BA Scout on a weekend trek of the Eagle Rock Loop in Arkansas. For one person, it's huge and fits gear inside with room for sprawling. The first night was cool (mid-50s) and breezy with some light rain, and it did great. The next night, however, was a continuous rain for about 12 hours. When I awoke before dawn, the roof was saturated with condensation (I thought it was leaking at first). With each water drop off of the overhanging tree, a spray fell upon me and my down bag. This was an extremely rainy weekend that the weatherman (of course) did not specify, but I think it would do well in moderate to dry conditions or light rain.

7:19 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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The need for a "freestanding" tent is a bit debatable but something like the BA Scout I see at the other end of the scale.

I could be wrong but it appears that you need 12 stakes to keep it up with the fly correctly stretched out. The TT Moment ,as it is (no extra pole), sets up in a minute correctly with just two stakes.

In fact you can pile up some rocks over the two ends and not use any stakes at all.. (or just two hooks on platforms) 


moment-no-stakes.jpg

(if you use rough  rocks, make sure you protect the guylines otherwise they could be damaged by wind-caused rubbing)

8:32 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Franco said:

The need for a "freestanding" tent is a bit debatable but something like the BA Scout I see at the other end of the scale.

I could be wrong but it appears that you need 12 stakes to keep it up with the fly correctly stretched out. The TT Moment ,as it is (no extra pole), sets up in a minute correctly with just two stakes.

In fact you can pile up some rocks over the two ends and not use any stakes at all.. (or just two hooks on platforms) 


moment-no-stakes.jpg

(if you use rough  rocks, make sure you protect the guylines otherwise they could be damaged by wind-caused rubbing)

Franco, is the "optional pole"(which is needed to make the shelter free standing w/o stakes/rocks) included or is it an option which needs to be purchased? I was looking at this model and it really isn't clear on TT's site. 

http://www.tarptent.com/momentdw.html 

If it is a purchase item it isn't listed on the "extras" page unless it is the "replacement arch pole" which leads me to believe it is included in the initial purchase hence the word replacement. 

I'm just not sure though.

Thanks.

(I am always looking for more tents and am currently contemplating a Hilleberg Tarra but can always use more in my stable.) 

The closest thing to free-standing that I have found on the market is my Hilleberg Soulo(or other comparable models/designs) being you do not need anything to completely erect the tent including the vesti other than the poles(no rocks, pegs, etc.)

If one has to stake out a vestibule in order for it to be used and/or a tent to be "pitched" correctly is it truly free standing?

Hmmmm, I think this could make for an interesting thread. ;)

Bill, sorry I missed the free-standing thing(or noticed it and didn't register with me.)

It has been a long week. 

9:05 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Yeah I really don't consider the freestanding requirement to be debatable for my use. Granted the use of rocks often suffices. But I guess I have just become too accustomed to the convenience of free standing tents to consider going backwards.

As for the tarp mode Ed suggested... That won't work for me. I won't sleep knowing various critters would love to crawl into my toasty warm sleeping bag.

I know, my criteria are restrictive ...

9:05 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Yeah I really don't consider the freestanding requirement to be debatable for my use. Granted the use of rocks often suffices. But I guess I have just become too accustomed to the convenience of free standing tents to consider going backwards.

As for the tarp mode Ed suggested... That won't work for me. I won't sleep knowing various critters would love to crawl into my toasty warm sleeping bag.

I know, my criteria are restrictive ...

9:13 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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The "freestanding" pole is the crossing pole in the Moment DW drop down menu $15 for the aluminium type or $32 for the new Carbon Fiber type.

I had a play with the CF pole for the Rainbow/Double Rainbow. A bit over 2 oz lighter and stiffer however it needs to be handled with some care.  Not the same as the one Easton uses for their Kilo range (it is thicker than those) 

BTW, I have only used the crossing pole on snow , I would not bother otherwise because I end up always using  4 stakes anyway. (the two extra are for the guylines) 

9:22 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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bheiser 1

The "debatable" bit referred to is the fact that ,for example, the "non freestanding" Moment only uses 2 stakes, many of the "freestanding" tents take 4 to 10 to work so I don't really see the practical/in use  difference .

 

BTW, I am just trying to explain how the Moment DW works, not saying that you should like it or not...

9:30 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Franco said:

The "freestanding" pole is the crossing pole in the Moment DW drop down menu $15 for the aluminium type or $32 for the new Carbon Fiber type.

I had a play with the CF pole for the Rainbow/Double Rainbow. A bit over 2 oz lighter and stiffer however it needs to be handled with some care.  Not the same as the one Easton uses for their Kilo range (it is thicker than those) 

BTW, I have only used the crossing pole on snow , I would not bother otherwise because I end up always using  4 stakes anyway. (the two extra are for the guylines) 

 Thanks Franco. Much appreciated.

10:08 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I'm ok if just the vestibule needs a stake... And ok if the poles are/can be trekking poles :)

The vestibules on both of my current tents need stakes (Mountain Hardwear Skyview 1.5 and BA CS UL 1 and it generally works out ok.

10:09 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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How do "we" all feel about carbon fiber poles?

10:13 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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Franco, I actually like the looks of the Moment DW (with the optional cross pole). But it doesn't represent enough weight savings for it to be worth it to me compared to my BA.

I see what you mean about debatable (I thought you meant it differently). However being able to set upy tent and get by without stakes at all at times has been a huge benefit for me. And when I don't expect dew I just skip the fly... Even better especially free standing.

10:15 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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bheiser1 said:

How do "we" all feel about carbon fiber poles?

I was going to get a set for my Soulo but after research when they "break" they splinter compared to an aluminum pole that bends and can still be used/fixed with a sleeve(Bill your Spur came with one.)

I WOULD NOT use them with a tent that uses pole sleeves because my worry is that the pole could break and tear through the sleeve causing even more damage. 

Another thought is that if CF was the way to go more companies would be going with them.

I had a long drawn out debate with a MSR/Cascade Designs rep about the inherent cons of CF poles.

10:57 p.m. on April 25, 2013 (EDT)
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I have seen a few types of CF poles but nothing that looks or feels like the new Custom poles.

CF-pole.jpg


The thinner one is the CF strut used by TT in the PitchLock corner and struts .

Still the alu types are probably safer .

2:04 a.m. on April 26, 2013 (EDT)
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Having worked a fair bit with carbon fiber technology, I have some strong opinions of its applications as tent poles.  This material is very strong and light, but it is also fairly brittle, and is capable of being deflected only slightly with no issues.  It really doesn't like getting bent.  Applying this observation to tent design means you can design sturdy poles that'll take just about anything short of someone falling on the tent, but such poles must be fabricated with the arc you intend them to take when the tent is erect.  Thus poles for a dome tent would have an arc shape as fabricated.  That could pose several issues and challenges, to fabricate, to line up pole segments during assembly, and to somehow design the pole segments to be compact when disassembled and stowed. 

The alternative approach would be to make the poles relatively frail, so a straight pole can be bent to obtain the same arc, but since CF material is brittle, you would be stressing the pole well on the way to its breaking point. 

Perhaps if someone made poles that used short filaments of carbon fiber, versus the woven or oriented long filaments, a more flexible pole could be obtained.  But then the weight/strength advantages would be diminished and you would end up with an over priced equivalent of fiberglass.  Add to all of this the fact CF poles would be pretty pricey, compared to the alternatives.  The fact I have not fabricated my own set of CF poles, not purchased a tent using this technology should indicate where I stand on this topic.  Aluminum poles get my vote for the time being.  

Ed

.

7:24 p.m. on April 29, 2013 (EDT)
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I'll keep my aluminum poles.

3:29 p.m. on May 23, 2013 (EDT)
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I have a Moment and regarding the "mist-thru" problem I have coated the top 1/2 of the tent with a thin silicone mix in a 5:1 ratio (by volume) of 5 parts odorless mineral spirits to one part  GE clear silicone caulk.

I put ingredients in a one pint plastic bottle, cap it tightly and shake for one munute and them every 5 minutes thereafter while brushing it on. As soon as I finish with one panel (1/4 of tehcanopy) I wipe the canopy with a blue paper heavy duty "shop cloth" to take off any excess material and eliminate brush streaks.

This has prevented ANY "mist-thru" in the heaviest of rain or even with a garden hose in "jet" setting.

As for the crossing pole, get it if you expect high winds or snow loading.

The new Moment DW can be a 4 season tent with the optional ripstop inner.

6:16 p.m. on May 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Tarptent changed the silnylon fabric used over a year ago. Since then I have not seen any reports from users about misting from penetration.  At the same time, since I have tents up on my backyard most of the year, I can tell you that even with the previous type in the heaviest rain you still needed big drops for that to occur.  Camping ,I only ever had penetration  when rain blobs from tree branches fell on the tent (kinetic force)   What can happen is that  misting from condensation is dislodged from the fly, the type Sebastian mentioned in his BA Scout. That happens with all tent it just that if you have a double wall you do not see it.  BTW, no matter what type or brand of tent I have up on my lawn, if in the morning the grass is wet (not from rain) the tent will be wet. There is no magic price range or fabric that makes that disappear.

July 31, 2014
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